NFL playoff picture: Lions can play role of spoiler against Bears

Jonathan Daniel

The Detroit Lions can't make the playoffs, but they can keep the Chicago Bears out of the postseason with a win on Sunday.

The Detroit Lions may not be able to make the playoffs, but that doesn't mean Sunday's season finale doesn't have playoff implications. The Chicago Bears are still in the mix for a playoff spot, and their hopes rest on beating the Lions at Ford Field. A win for the Bears won't clinch them a playoff spot, but to even keep hope alive, they can't afford to lose.

The Bears' playoff scenario for Week 17 revolves around two factors: 1) beating or tying the Lions; and 2) the Minnesota Vikings losing or tying the Green Bay Packers. Here's the exact scenario from the NFL:

Chicago clinches a playoff spot with:

1) CHI win + MIN loss or tie OR

2) CHI tie + MIN loss

Since the Vikings/Packers game isn't until 4:25 p.m. ET, the Lions/Bears game at 1 p.m. ET will determine if Chicago's playoff hopes stay alive going into the late afternoon part of the schedule. This means the Lions should have some extra motivation on Sunday, as they have a chance to play the role of spoiler. You always want to beat the Bears no matter what the situation is, but eliminating them from playoff contention would add a little something extra to the season finale should the Lions find a way to win.

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